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CRN Exclusive: Commvault CEO Hammer On CEO Succession, Regaining Mindshare, And Increasing Competition

Robert Hammer tells CRN that he is participating in the search for a new CEO, and that he wants to make it clear that Commvault is once again a powerhouse in the data protection market no matter how much noise the smaller startup competitors make.

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There's a lot of talk about machine learning and artificial intelligence. Commvault is talking about autonomous, self-driving backups. How did that get started?

We started this a year ago with customers, understanding how they use a plan to get an outcome. 'Plan' is the word we use, where you define what outcome you want. A plan auto-configs, does all that work automatically, depending on what the storage needs are, what the compute needs are, what the bandwidth is. We do all that work.

Clearly, there are a lot of customers that want it, that are beginning to use it. We came up the curve really fast on this. Part of it's tied to our architecture, and part of it's because we've been working on these ideas of machine learning and artificial intelligence. We've been at this, if I said five years I'd probably be right.

But Commvault has been doing this for more than a year, right?

We've been using it internally for quite a while with no issues that I'm aware of. A lot of our automation was tied to how we wrote our own code. We automated all our code and dev-test. That was started, I'd bet, 15 years ago. All that automation and cloud and orchestration, that all came about internally. Our test bed is really, I don't know, maybe somebody else in the world is more sophisticated that we are, but there won't be many. We've been at this for a long time.

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